July/August 2010: Commercial News Round Up

News briefs to keep you in the know about the commercial real estate industry.

August 1, 2010

Retailers Need to Think Old

It isn’t buildings that need to be re-engineered to serve the world’s burgeoning senior population, it’s the retail uses inside them, says Professor Jim Johnson Jr., Ph.D., William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Adding wider doorways for wheelchairs and more handicapped parking are great, but "retailers also need to think about how they’re going to display and label goods so they’re accessible to people with disabilities," says Johnson, a specialist in demographics. Changes like larger more colorful labeling for fading eyesight and lower racks that can be reached from a motorized cart are among the changes that would make shopping more senior-friendly.

Entrepreneurs who can recognize unmet niches that serve seniors will also be a viable source of new service tenants, Johnson says. Medical services are the most obvious, but don’t stop there. Johnson suggests fitness centers geared to seniors and companies that specialize in home safety audits—assessing the need for aids such as grab bars and easy-to-turn door knobs.

Making the Commercial Case

The lack of liquidity in commercial real estate has been getting a lot of publicity lately. Yet many influential individuals—from congressional representatives to the press—know little about how commercial real estate is financed and developed.

To help you explain the current conditions in commercial real estate and how they affect the overall economy, the Commercial Real Estate and Government Affairs divisions of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® have created an eight-page document filled with important background information and summaries of the key financial issues affecting our $6.7 trillion industry.

The Commercial Priorities handout, available for free, gives you the vital information you’ll need to make the case for commercial real estate to your representatives and to the press. Information includes key federal issues affecting commercial practitioners. Issue summaries include accelerated depreciation, credit union lending, commercial mortgage insurance, and carried interest.

If you want to be a knowledgeable advocate for commercial real estate, the Commercial Priorities handout will be invaluable. Download it today.

Mariwyn Evans

Mariwyn Evans is a former REALTOR® Magazine writer and editor, covering both residential brokerage and commercial real estate topics.